fashion, masculinity, gendered body

Both Glamour and Making the Suit Zoot examine fashion’s relationship with gender and sexuality. After reading Wissinger’s Judith Butler, I understand that they both discuss how power and culture transform the marginalized and reshape individual and group identities. While Glamour explores the written and imaged of glamour, Making the Suit Zoot traces the material history of zoot suit and focuses on how zoot suit emerged from the creative process between manufacturers, retailer, and customers. Judith Butler: Fashion and Performativity reviews Butler’s studies on body, clothing, and power. The Judith Butler chapter suggests clothing and the body project the structures of power. It is important to take a close look at the social and cultural dynamics that shape glamour or zoot suit. The concept of performativity helps me to understand dandyism in Glamour and masculinity in Making the Suit Zoot: first, I have to acknowledge that body is a mixture of both the psychic and the material, and I can find “a repetition with a difference” in the making of glamour or that of zoot suit. Making the Suit Zoot covers so many agencies in the history of zoot suit, including manufacturers, retailers, advertisers, government, and customers. It depicts the whole image of the fashion industry in the mid-20th century U.S. Although this chapter has some statistics, many arguments seem to become too general about the economic status of American families. This chapter reveals the collaborative and interactive nature of the creation of a style, which reflects the power dynamics in the society. Glamour starts with searching for the origins and marks of glamour in literature, fine arts, and cinema. Wilson also locates “glamour” and its connection with darkness in contemporary fashion with a reference to Caroline Evans’s Fashion at the Edge. However, the effort to define celebrity and distinguish glamour from celebrity seem weak. Wissinger’s Judith Butler chapter proves how valuable and fundamental Butler’s work is to fashion studies and queer studies. It is worth noting that she clarifies readers’ confusion over “performativity”, which is essential to understand the gendered body. The section which explains why psychoanalysis is not enough suggests that we need a framework that incorporates the analysis of psyche, material, and many more to understand complex identity constructions, such as those in Glamour and Making the Suit Zoot. The discussion on Butler’s “linguistic turn” reminds us to pay attention to re-signification and how meanings and power are shifted, which both Glamour and Making the Suit Zoot also discuss in their contexts.

Writing Prompts

Wilson, Glamour

1. “Yet glamour is not about consumption in the consumer society, although te word has come to be continually misused…” p.98

2. “For glamour is elitist…” p.100

3. “The contrast could be formulated more theoretically.” P.101

Peiss, Making the Suit Zoot

4. “During these years, the menswear trade as a whole became a more style-conscious industry…” p. 22

5. “Most significant for the zoot suit was the practice of semi-custom tailoring…” p.30

6. “Style was a consideration, even with respect to men’s clothes…” p.34-35

Wissinger, Judith Butler

7. “Butler used the concept of ‘performativity’ to analyze the ontological origins of gender itself…” p. 287

8. “Fashion is among the regimes that give bodies intelligibility…” p. 291

9. “That ‘something important’ threads through Butler’s attempts to situate bodily practices in the specific social and historical…” p.292

10. “Thinking through fashion via Butler blurs the line between clothing and the body, and idea that has become critical within…” p. 294-295

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